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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Wynn Las Vegas: EEOC lawsuit is 'irresponsible' and 'ill-conceived'

By Tara Mapes | Oct 13, 2016

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LAS VEGAS (Legal Newsline) - Wynn Las Vegas is arguing that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recent lawsuit against the casino/resort business ignores some basic facts. 

The suit, filed Sept. 16, accuses Wynn Las Vegas of discriminating against a disabled employee. It was one of three federal employment lawsuits filed against the company in a 10-day span.

It its news release, the EEOC stated Wynn violated federal law when it discriminated against a disabled employee who was also a U.S. Army veteran diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Wynn owns and operates a luxury resort - which includes casinos, hotels, entertainment venues, restaurants and shops - on the Las Vegas Strip.

“This action by the EEOC is an example of their frequent irresponsible and ill-conceived actions that often ignore the obvious facts, and in this case, the truth," a Wynn representative told Legal Newsline

"We are deeply disappointed that the EEOC decided to file a lawsuit three years after our last communication on this matter, rather than contact us and engage in the real work necessary to help an employee ensnared in medical and government bureaucracy.”

According to the EEOC's lawsuit, in 2010 Wynn began requiring its security guards to work mandatory overtime. One of the officers requested an accommodation for his disability, and Wynn allegedly refused, requiring the employee to submit to what the EEOC deemed as “burdensome” doctor's notes. 

This requirement allegedly exacerbated the employee's PTSD. The lawsuit contends when the employee filed a complaint with EEOC, Wynn retaliated against him by suspending him pending an investigation.

Richard Burgamy, director of EEOC's Las Vegas Office, added a statement in the press release reading, "Employers should review their policies and practices to ensure that people are properly trained on disability discrimination law. The process of asking for an accommodation should not be so burdensome that it stops people from exercising their rights." 

The EEOC said such alleged conduct violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and filed suit in the U.S. District Court of Nevada against Wynn.

The Wynn representative said, “Our company makes work accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA], and was fully prepared to do the same for this employee. Unfortunately, the employee was unable to obtain the certification required by government regulation, which would allow us to fairly make an accommodation for him. 

"The company worked with the employee for months to help him obtain the necessary medical certification. Eventually, the employee resigned; he was not terminated.”

The EEOC said before filing it attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement with Wynn through its conciliation process.

The EEOC seeks back pay, as well as compensatory and punitive damages. It also seeks injunctive relief in an effort to prevent Wynn from discriminating in the future.

“We did not discriminate against the employee on the basis of an alleged disability. Wynn Resorts profoundly resents the false accusations of the EEOC in taking this action and intends to prove that in court,” Wynn’s representative told Legal Newsline. 

Eight days after the EEOC's lawsuit was filed, Aismel Abella filed a lawsuit against Wynn. He claims he was subjected to harassment from other Wynn employees.

Corey Dominick, a security officer, filed his lawsuit Sept. 26 after contacting the EEOC. He claims he was unfairly fired in March.

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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission